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Hull Number: DD-968

Launch Date: 03/21/1975

Commissioned Date: 04/16/1977

Decommissioned Date: 03/18/2003


Class: SPRUANCE

SPRUANCE Class


Length Overall: 563’ 3"

Beam: 55’

Draft: 29'

Full Load Displacement: 8,040 tons

Armament:

Two 5″/54 caliber guns
Two 20mm Close-In Weapons Systems
One ASROC Launcher
Two 12.75″ triple anti-submarine torpedo tubes

Complement:

19 Officers
315 Enlisted

Propulsion:

4 General Electric LM2500 Gas Turbines: 80,000 horsepower

Highest speed on trials: 32.5 knots

Namesake: ARTHUR WILLIAM RADFORD

ARTHUR WILLIAM RADFORD

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, June 2015

Arthur William Radford, born in Chicago on 27 February 1896, graduated from the Naval Academy on 2 June 1916 and served in South Carolina (Battleship No. 26) before seeing duty in three successive staff assignments with: Commander, Battleship Division 1; Commander, Division 1, Pacific Fleet, as aide and flag lieutenant; and as aide and flag lieutenant on the staff of Commander, Train, Pacific Fleet.

In the spring of 1920, Radford arrived at the Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, Fla., for flight instruction and received his “wings” in November. After a tour as an instructor at Pensacola, he spent two years in Washington with the Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) before joining Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet. Service in observation squadron VO-1,from April 1925 to June 1927 followed before he saw duty at NAS, San Diego, Calif.

In the spring of 1929, Radford was again assigned to Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, commanding the Alaskan Aerial Survey Detachment which investigated forest and mineral resources in that region. In November 1929, Radford moved to Saratoga (CV-3) and took command of her fighter squadron, VF-1B, the following spring. Assigned to the staff of Commander, Aircraft, Battle Force, in May 1931, he served as Rear Admiral Harry E. Yarnell’s aide and flag secretary on a staff that included other naval aviation luminaries such as Capt. John H. Towers and Comdr. Forrest Sherman.

Following another stint with BuAer beginning in June 1932, Radford became navigator of the seaplane tender Wright (AV-1). Duty as an aide to ComAirBatFor lasted until he took command of NAS, Seattle, Wash., in June 1937. In May 1940, Radford became executive officer of Yorktown (CV-5). In May 1941, Radford went back to Washington for a few more months at BuAer and then became the first commanding officer of NAS, Bermuda.

America’s entry into World War II in December 1941 found Radford directing the Navy’s pilot training program. He inaugurated a program of intensive expansion to include all phases of operational flight training and established functional training commands to carry out his plans. Under his direction, the program, which grew through the spring of 1943, provided the Navy with the skilled pilots who spearheaded the war against the Axis. For this work Radford received the Legion of Merit.

Radford went to Carrier Division (CarDiv) 2 in April 1943 and received flag rank on 21 July of that year. Then as Commander, CarDiv 11, he directed his division’s air strikes in support of the landings in the Gilberts in November and received his first Distinguished Service Medal (DSM). Then, after serving as chief of staff and aide to Commander, Aircraft, Pacific Fleet, from December 1943 to January 1944, he returned to Washington to serve as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air into the fall of 1944.

Breaking his flag in Yorktown, (CV-10) as Commander, CarDiv 6, in November 1944, Radford directed his task group’s attacks against targets in the Japanese home islands. His planes also supported the conquest of I wo Jima and of Okinawa, earning him a second DSM.

Following a stint as Commander, Fleet Air, Seattle, lasting into the winter, Radford journeyed to Washington once more in January 1946, to fill the billet of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air. He returned to sea duty in March 1947 as Commander, 2d Task Fleet, and held that post into December of that year before returning to Washington to become Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Becoming Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, with the collateral duty of High Commissioner, Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, in the spring of 1949, with the rank of admiral, he was serving therein when the Korean War broke out in June 1950.

According to the citation for his third DSM, Radford “quickly and effectively prepared his command for full scale offensive operations . …” He skillfully placed his warships “. . . to provide coordinated support of land operations to aid the Republic of Korea in her fight against domination and oppression.” During his time as CINCPACFLT, Radford met Dwight D. Eisenhower in Korea following the 1952 elections and impressed the presidentelect so favorably that “Ike” soon appointed him Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The first naval officer to hold that high office. Admiral Radford served as Chairman from June of 1953 until his retirement on 1 August 1957, winning his fourth DSM. Admiral Radford died at the Bethesda Naval Hospital on 17 August 1973.

In the spring of 1929, Radford was again assigned to Aircraft Squadrons, Battle Fleet, commanding the Alaskan Aerial Survey Detachment which investigated forest and mineral resources in that region. In November 1929, Radford moved to Saratoga (CV-3) and took command of her fighter squadron, VF-1B, the following spring. Assigned to the staff of Commander, Aircraft, Battle Force, in May 1931, he served as Rear Admiral Harry E. Yarnell’s aide and flag secretary on a staff that included other naval aviation luminaries such as Capt. John H. Towers and Comdr. Forrest Sherman.

Following another stint with BuAer beginning in June 1932, Radford became navigator of the seaplane tender Wright (AV-1). Duty as an aide to ComAirBatFor lasted until he took command of NAS, Seattle, Wash., in June 1937. In May 1940, Radford became executive officer of Yorktown (CV-5). In May 1941, Radford went back to Washington for a few more months at BuAer and then became the first commanding officer of NAS, Bermuda.

America’s entry into World War II in December 1941 found Radford directing the Navy’s pilot training program. He inaugurated a program of intensive expansion to include all phases of operational flight training and established functional training commands to carry out his plans. Under his direction, the program, which grew through the spring of 1943, provided the Navy with the skilled pilots who spearheaded the war against the Axis. For this work Radford received the Legion of Merit.

Radford went to Carrier Division (CarDiv) 2 in April 1943 and received flag rank on 21 July of that year. Then as Commander, CarDiv 11, he directed his division’s air strikes in support of the landings in the Gilberts in November and received his first Distinguished Service Medal (DSM). Then, after serving as chief of staff and aide to Commander, Aircraft, Pacific Fleet, from December 1943 to January 1944, he returned to Washington to serve as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air into the fall of 1944.

Breaking his flag in Yorktown, (CV-10) as Commander, CarDiv 6, in November 1944, Radford directed his task group’s attacks against targets in the Japanese home islands. His planes also supported the conquest of I wo Jima and of Okinawa, earning him a second DSM.

Following a stint as Commander, Fleet Air, Seattle, lasting into the winter, Radford journeyed to Washington once more in January 1946, to fill the billet of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air. He returned to sea duty in March 1947 as Commander, 2d Task Fleet, and held that post into December of that year before returning to Washington to become Vice Chief of Naval Operations. Becoming Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, with the collateral duty of High Commissioner, Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, in the spring of 1949, with the rank of admiral, he was serving therein when the Korean War broke out in June 1950.

According to the citation for his third DSM, Radford “quickly and effectively prepared his command for full scale offensive operations . …” He skillfully placed his warships “. . . to provide coordinated support of land operations to aid the Republic of Korea in her fight against domination and oppression.” During his time as CINCPACFLT, Radford met Dwight D. Eisenhower in Korea following the 1952 elections and impressed the presidentelect so favorably that “Ike” soon appointed him Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The first naval officer to hold that high office. Admiral Radford served as Chairman from June of 1953 until his retirement on 1 August 1957, winning his fourth DSM. Admiral Radford died at the Bethesda Naval Hospital on 17 August 1973.


Disposition:

To be test ship, replacing Decatur.


USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD DD-968 Ship History

Wikipedia (as of 2024)

Arthur W. Radford was laid down 31 January 1974 by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries at PascagoulaMississippi, and launched on 1 March 1975,[b] sponsored by Mrs. Arthur Radford, the admiral’s widow. Arthur W. Radford was commissioned on 16 April 1977,[4]

Underway for the United States East Coast the day she was commissioned, Arthur W. Radford was forced to return to her builder’s yard for repairs soon thereafter, but got underway again on 30 April. Touching at Charleston, South Carolina, on 3 and 4 May, the ship proceeded to her home port Norfolk, Virginia, which she reached on 6 May.[4]

Three days later, she steamed for Newport, Rhode Island, to provide support for the Naval Surface Warfare Officer Training Command. While the ship proceeded north, a LAMPS helicopter practice-landed on her helo deck to prepare for the embarkation of a LAMPS III detachment. The helicopter returned to Norfolk later that day 11 May. Mooring at Newport on 13 May, the destroyer remained there until 17 May, when she headed home. Soon after returning to Norfolk, she conducted gunnery exercises and helicopter operations off the Virginia Capes.[4]

The ship headed down the coast on 24 May and reached Port Canaveral, Florida, the following day. After embarking Capt. R. K. Albright, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 22 (DesRon 22) the destroyer got underway on 27 May and, for the next few days, conducted air, surface, and sub-surface surveillance of the surrounding waters while President Jimmy Carter, observed operations on board the attack submarine Los Angeles. The destroyer rendezvoused with the submarine prior to her initial dive and then again when the submarine surfaced. Throughout the operation, she provided support services for local and national press covering the Chief Executive’s voyage.[4]

Underway for Norfolk on 31 May, Arthur W. Radford reached her home port on 2 June for local operations. While returning from waters off the Virginia Capes on 6 June, the ship ran into low-visibility conditions and winds in excess of 90 knots (170 km/h) which disabled a radar antenna and drove the ship outside the main shipping channel. At one point her fathometer read only 30 centimeters of water under the keel.[4]

Fighting her way back to the channel in the teeth of the gale Arthur W. Radford sighted a capsized motor vessel, Dixie Lee II, 300 yards south of Thimble A Shoals Channel buoy 21. Unable to assist due to the shallow water and high winds, the destroyer notified the United States Coast Guard of bodies seen floating in the water. The destroyer then anchored in Hampton Roads until the wind had dropped and shipping, adrift in the vicinity, had moved off.[4]

Arthur W. Radford then proceeded to the West Indies for training operations including gunfire support. En route to Frederickstad, Saint Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, in late June she conducted further weapons tests. Firing a gunnery exercise at Vieques, Puerto Rico, the destroyer returned to the eastern seaboard with a port visit to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Independence Day 1977. During this firing exercise, a dummy shell hit USS Opportune (ARS-41) which was towing a target sled. Further work in the Bahamas, and at Guantanamo Bay, preceded her return to Charleston, South Carolina, on the last day of July. She then headed home where she arrived on 3 August.[4]

The ship returned to Pascagoula on 11 September for post-shakedown availability and remained in her builder’s hands until she returned to Norfolk in mid-October. Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 25 October for restricted availability, she remained there into the spring of 1978 before resuming local operations out of her home port. She principally engaged in ship qualification trials and underway training before steaming south to Guantanamo Bay and Vieques for refresher training and gunfire support practice, respectively. Following these evolutions, the ship returned to Norfolk on 30 July 1978.[4]

On 23 August, Arthur W. Radford got underway from the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Virginia, and headed for NATO exercises in the North Atlantic. En route, she participated in Exercise “Common Effort”, carrying out escort duties in an “opposed Atlantic transit”, and briefly embarked Vice Admiral Wesley L. McDonald, Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet. Next came Operation “Northern Wedding” a joint NATO exercise which began on 4 September and involved several carrier groups in an amphibious landing and many other facets of simulated naval warfare. During that operation, Arthur W. Radford operated alongside Royal NavyRoyal Danish NavyRoyal Norwegian NavySwedish NavyWest German Navy, and Canadian Forces Maritime naval units.[4] During this exercise, the ship encountered huge seas from Hurricane Flossie.[citation needed]

Following the conclusion of “Northern Wedding”, the destroyer visited Copenhagen, Denmark; Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Portsmouth, England. She again embarked VADM McDonald at Portsmouth on 16 October and wore his flag during the return voyage to Norfolk. The admiral disembarked upon her arrival at Norfolk on 25 October. The destroyer then operated locally through the winter, varying periods between in port for upkeep and getting underway for training.[4]

Arthur W. Radford cleared Norfolk on 13 March 1979, bound for the Mediterranean and a tour with the U.S. 6th Fleet. Over the next six months, she participated in a variety of exercises and visited the ports of Catania, Sicily; Split, Yugoslavia; Trieste, Italy; Alexandria, Egypt; Cannes, France, Palma, Spain; Barcelona, Spain; Toulon, France, Théoule, France, Rota, Spain and Valencia, Spain. During the deployment, the vessel fired her first Harpoon missile in the Mediterranean on 28 July. Her target was the hulk of a destroyer, ex-Lansdowne (later the Turkish TCG Gaziantep (D-344)). Arthur W. Radford also participated in Exercise “Multiplex 1-79” in the Ionian Sea, Exercise “Dawn Patrol” in the Tyrrhenian Sea and Ionian Seas, Exercise “Tridente” out of Alexandria, and Exercise “National Week” XXVII, Phases 1 and 2. While en route from Toulon to Theoule, France, she rescued the French ketch, Laurca, adrift 50 miles (80 km) from the French resort of St. Tropez.[4]

Clearing Rota on 12 September, Arthur W. Radford reached Norfolk on 22 September. Underway for Miami, Florida on 23 October, she served as the platform for deck landing qualifications for helicopter pilots en route, and, after touching at Mayport, Florida to unload a crippled H 3 helicopter from HSL-30, reached Miami on 27 October for a two-day port visit.[4]

After returning briefly to Norfolk from 31 October to 5 November, the destroyer proceeded to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and participated in a training exercise with American and Canadian warships. During the course of Exercise “Canus-Marcot” she logged her 1,000th helicopter landing of 1979. Returning to Norfolk on 21 November, she remained in port for the remainder of the year 1979.[4]

For the first half of 1980, the warship principally operated off the eastern seaboard of the United States, and ranged as far north as Halifax and as far south as the Caribbean, working briefly out of Vieques and Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, as well as out of Jacksonville, Florida. During this time, she also visited Annapolis, Maryland, where United States Naval Academy midshipmen toured the ship’s engineering plant on an orientation visit. Admiral James L. Holloway III, the former Chief of Naval Operations, visited the ship as well.[4]

Following a brief period at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Arthur W. Radford prepared for another extended deployment. She departed Norfolk on 21 June 1980, embarking HSL-34, Detachment 2 and proceeded to Roosevelt Roads, where she embarked Rear Admiral Peter K. Cullins, Commander, South Atlantic Force and his staff to become Cullins’ flagship for UNITAS XXI. Visits to Saint Kitts and to Bridgetown, Barbados, followed before the destroyer sailed for Venezuelan waters.[4]

Over the next four months, Arthur W. Radford operated with elements of the VenezuelanEcuadorianPeruvianColombianTrinidad and TobagonianArgentineUruguayan, and Brazilian navies. Her ports of call included Puerto La Cruz and La Guaira, Venezuela, Rodman, PanamaManta, Ecuador, Paito and Callao, Peru, Cartagena, ColombiaTrinidad and TobagoPuerto Belgrano, and Bahía Blanca, Argentina, Montevideo, Uruguay, and the Brazilian ports of SantosRio de JaneiroSalvador and Recife. She also transited the Panama Canal twice during UNITAS XXI, the first time on 21 July 1980 and the second on 24 August.[4]

Completing UNITAS XXI on 4 November, Arthur W. Radford sailed for Gabon, as a unit of the West Africa Training Cruise (WATC), reaching Libreville, the capital of Gabon, on 12 November. Over the next few weeks, she visited Tema, Ghana Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Dakar, Senegal. Clearing Dakar on 1 December, the destroyer stopped at Guadeloupe and at Roosevelt Roads on the return voyage and arrived at Norfolk on 15 December.[4]

The ship spent the next two years engaged in operations along the East Coast and in the West Indies mostly in underway training out of Norfolk, Roosevelt Roads, and Vieques and in refresher training at Guantanamo Bay. During the summer of 1981, she operated out of Annapolis, training midshipmen. She underwent upkeep at Norfolk and Boston, Massachusetts, and received an overhaul at her builder’s yard. En route to Puerto Rico, the ship had a Coast Guard detachment embarked from 20 to 23 September 1982, and cooperated with the Coast Guard on drug interdiction duties.[4]

For the first few months of 1983, Arthur W. Radford operated primarily in the Virginia Capes area, but ranged into the Atlantic as far as the Bahamas. After embarking Commander, Destroyer Squadron 26, at Norfolk on 7 March to begin a nine-month period on board, Arthur W. Radford hosted Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Jr., on 29 March. A little less than one month later the destroyer cleared Norfolk on 27 April for a six-month deployment in the Mediterranean.[4]

Touching at Gibraltar on 10 May, Arthur W. Radford proceeded to Augusta Bay, Sicily, and thence moved to waters off the coast of Lebanon. After supporting the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut from 20 to 28 May, the destroyer visited Taranto, Italy, before returning to Lebanese waters for another brief period. During a port call at the Romanian port of Constanţa along with guided-missile frigate Antrim, the destroyer served as flagship for Vice Admiral William H. Rowden, Commander, 6th Fleet.[4]

Visiting Catania, Sicily, Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Livorno, Italy, Arthur W. Radford exercised with U.S. 6th Fleet battle groups later that summer, later visiting Gaeta and Naples, Italy. While visiting Istanbul, Turkey, she hosted the retired Army leader and former presidential advisor General Alexander M. Haig.[4]

Arthur W. Radford returned to the waters off Beirut on 18 September 1983 to assume duty as ready gunfire support ship. She conducted gunfire support missions[5] against forces threatening the peacekeeping force on 21 and 22 September until relieved on station by the battleship New Jersey on 8 October. Visits to La MaddalenaSardinia, and to Tangier, Morocco rounded out the destroyer’s time in the U.S. 6th Fleet. Operating briefly with Spanish Navy units en route to the turnover port of Rota, Arthur W. Radford cleared Rota on 10 November with the battle group formed around the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. She arrived at Norfolk 11 days later, remaining there for the rest of 1983.[4]

Arthur W. Radford operated briefly in the Virginia Capes area in January 1984 before undergoing an overhaul at the Metro Machine Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, between 16 February and 27 April. Subsequently, undergoing sea trials and repairs in the floating drydock SustainArthur W. Radford conducted routine training out of Norfolk through early August.[4]

The destroyer next operated out of Roosevelt Roads and off St. Croix before returning to Norfolk at the end of August and becoming flagship for Destroyer Squadron 10. After then conducting underway training in the Virginia Capes area in September and October, Arthur W. Radford accompanied the recommissioned battleship Iowa to Roosevelt Roads. She later conducted gunfire support exercises off Vieques. Returning northward the destroyer took part in exercises off the coast of North Carolina before reaching to Norfolk on 20 November.[4]

After local operations, Arthur W. Radford sailed for a deployment with the Middle East Force (MidEastFor) on 4 February 1985, in company with Barney. Rendezvousing with Antrim and Charles F. Adams near Bermuda two days later, and refueling from USNS Waccamaw, the destroyer reached Rota on 16 February. She then visited Naples before heading for Egypt to transit the Suez Canal on 27 February 1985.[4]

The destroyer touched briefly at Raysut, Oman, on 8 March before transiting the Strait of Hormuz the following day and entering the Persian Gulf. After touching briefly at Bahrain Arthur W. Radford got underway on 14 March for the Persian Gulf radar picket station. Five days into her time on station, she responded to a “Mayday” from the Liberian-flag tanker Caribbean Breeze which had been attacked and set afire in the central Persian Gulf. The destroyer provided medical advice over the emergency radio channel and launched a helicopter to render assistance.[4]

Refueling on 25 March at Sitrah Anchorage, Bahrain, Arthur W. Radford got underway to resume her radar picket duty later the same day, remaining employed thus until she moored alongside La Salle for availability. The destroyer resumed steaming on radar picket station again on 8 April, also conducting surveillance operations simultaneously.[4]

Arthur W. Radford embarked Rear Admiral John Addams, Commander, Middle East Force, on 17 April, and served as his flagship until 5 June. During that time, the destroyer served twice on radar picket duties in the Persian Gulf, the first from 17 to 26 April and the second from 23 to 29 June, and once on routine cruising. She visited the Sitrah anchorage twice during this period, and visited Manama, Bahrain, twice.[4]

After Rear Admiral Addams shifted his flag from Arthur W. Radford, the ship served two more tours of radar picket duty in the Persian Gulf from 6 to 16 June and 20 to 29 June. During the first of these periods, on 7 June, the destroyer’s embarked Sikorsky SH-3 “Sea King” helicopter from squadron HS-1 transported a civilian rescued from drowning and in need of medical attention to Bahrain hospital, saving the person’s life.[4]

Arthur W. Radford underwent her final upkeep in the Persian Gulf at Mina Sulman, Manama, Bahrain, from 29 June to 4 July observing Independence Day there before getting underway that afternoon to transit the Persian Gulf for the Strait of Hormuz. She conducted turnover to the destroyer Comte de Grasse the following day, and exited from the gulf.[4]

Stopping for fuel at Mina Raysut, Oman, on 8 July, Arthur W. Radford transited the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb in company with Antrim on 10 July, and the two warships conducted freedom of navigation operations off the coast of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen on 11 July. The destroyer transited the Suez Canal on 14 July, and replenished from the oiler USNS Neosho that same day. Fueling from USNS Truckee the following day, Arthur W. Radford conducted a port visit to Benidorm, Spain, from 20 to 23 July before reaching Rota on 24 July. Proceeding thence with AntrimBarney, and Charles F. Adams, the destroyer sailed for Norfolk on 24 July. After visiting Ponta DelgadaAzores, and Bermuda en route, Arthur W. Radford reached her home port on 5 August 1985.[4]

The destroyer remained at Norfolk into late October, preparing for a command inspection and operating locally in the Virginia Capes operating area. Early in this period, Hurricane Gloria prompted Arthur W. Radford to depart Norfolk on 13 September 1985, and proceed to the upper Chesapeake Bay anchorage to ride out the storm. The destroyer returned to her home port on 21 September.[4]

Departing Norfolk on 25 October, Arthur W. Radford sailed for Nova Scotia, and arrived at Halifax on 28 October. After being briefed for her participation in an exercise, SHAREM 62, the ship departed Halifax on the following day for Notre Dame Bay Newfoundland. Transiting the Strait of Belle Isle on 31 October Arthur W. Radford reached her destination on 1 November, and took part in SHAREM 62 until 6 November, when she sailed for Halifax.[4]

Following the post-exercise debriefing, Arthur W. Radford sailed for Norfolk, arriving at her home port on 13 November. Moving up the eastern seaboard, the destroyer visited Boston, Massachusetts (5 to 8 December) before spending a brief period at Newport serving as Surface Warfare Officer School school ship from 9 to 12 December. Arthur W. Radford then returned to the Norfolk area, unloading weapons at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown from 15 to 18 December before conducting a dependents’ cruise on 18 December.[4]

The destroyer underwent a restricted availability until late March 1986, running her post-repair trials on 29 and 30 March before proceeding to Yorktown to take on weapons. Arthur W. Radford operated locally out of Norfolk into late July, interspersing this work with a drydocking in Sustain from 30 May to 17 June, for repairs to her struts and stern tubes, as well as an inspection of her sonar dome. Following refresher training in Guantanamo Bay, the ship touched at Roosevelt Roads before operating at Vieques for gunfire support practice, surface gunnery exercises, and missile shoots. After visiting Fort Lauderdale, and Florida en route, the ship returned to Norfolk on 12 September.[4]

Arthur W. Radford returned to Guantanamo Bay soon thereafter to embark HSL-36, detachment 6, and then proceeded to Roosevelt Roads, where she arrived on 6 October to load ammunition, to take on fuel, and to embark a Coast Guard law enforcement detachment along with Commander, Caribbean Squadron and his staff. The ship operated in her assigned waters from 6 to 19 October, returning to Roosevelt Roads to debark Commander, Caribbean Squadron and his staff.[4]

Detaching the Coast Guardsmen at Nassau, Bahamas, on 22 October at the commencement of the ship’s port visit there, Arthur W. Radford sailed for Norfolk on 25 October, arriving two days later. As before, her stay in port proved brief, for she got underway on 3 November for the Bermuda operating area for exercises. One day out of Norfolk, she assisted Preble in searching for a crewman who had been lost in the Cape Hatteras area.[4]

Arthur W. Radford conducted her exercises, SHAREM 1-87, before returning to Norfolk on 16 November. With the exception of a period underway in the Virginia Capes operating area on 9 and 10 December, Arthur W. Radford spent the month of December in port in Norfolk.[4] In early 1987, the ship participated in a major FLEETEX and other exercises, and from 20 July to 10 December 1987, the ship took part in UNITAS XXVIII.[6]

vertical launching system (VLS) was installed in January 1990[7] during a major overhaul at Avondale Shipyard. On 26 September 1991, the ship departed for a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf with the Eisenhower battle group, returning 26 March 1992. It was her first deployment in five years.[8]

The ship deployed to the Mediterranean sea in 1994[7] and in 1996.[9] The ship and crew received awards for service relating to Bosnia during both deployments.[10]

As of 31 August 1995, Arthur W. Radford was to become part of Destroyer Squadron 26.

In May 1997, Arthur W. Radford received the first shipboard installation of the Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensor System which fully integrates advanced materials, structures, and manufacturing technologies with sensor technology, electromagnetics, and signature reduction to achieve improved warfighting capabilities.[11]

On 4 February 1999 at about 23:34, Arthur W. Radford collided with the Saudi Riyadh,[12] (IMO number7900053) a 29,259-ton, 656-foot (200 m)-long, roll-on/roll-off container ship, which was preparing to enter the Chesapeake Bay bound for Baltimore. According to the Navy, Arthur W. Radford was conducting calibration tests on electronic warfare equipment at the time of the collision. As a part of that test, the ship had been sailing in circles around an electronic buoy for six hours prior to the collision. Saudi Riyadh, meanwhile, was approaching the Chesapeake Bay from the northeast, preparing to line up in the shipping lanes before taking on a marine pilot for its eventual trip to Baltimore.[13]

When the two ships collided, Saudi Riyadhs bow struck the starboard side of Arthur W. Radford, about 30 feet (9 m) behind its bow. Saudi Riyadh sustained a four-foot-high, 30-foot (9 m)-long gash along the port and starboard sides of its bow, with most of the damage to its port side. Arthur W. Radford, more heavily damaged, sustained a deep gash on its starboard side, penetrating nearly 25 feet (8 m) into the main deck, ripping a pie-shaped gash and penetrating into the centerline of Arthur W. Radford. A hole ran from the deck to the waterline. The collision toppled its 5-inch 54-caliber gun and damaged Tomahawk cruise missile tubes.[citation needed] One sailor aboard suffered a broken arm, and 12 more had various injuries.[12] The ship entered Norfolk Naval Shipyard Drydock #3 25 February 1999.[14]

Arthur W. Radford sustained an estimated $32.7 million in damages and the damage prevented the ship from leaving 26 March on a scheduled six-month deployment to the Mediterranean Sea with the carrier Theodore Roosevelt battle group. Repairs aboard Arthur W. Radford were completed on 13 September and the destroyer then deployed with the Eisenhower battle group.[citation needed] As a result of the collision, the commanding officer was relieved 13 February 1999.[15][16] In June 2000, a US court affixed liability at 65% Saudi Riyadh / 35% Arthur W. Radford. Neither the US Navy commanding officer nor the cargo ship’s master were on the bridge or consulted prior to the collision.[13]

Arthur W. Radford deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf 3 April to 1 October 2000.[17]

Arthur W. Radford was decommissioned 18 March 2003,[3] then stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 6 April 2004 and eventually assigned to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On 8 June 2010, the ex-Arthur W. Radford was transferred to the State of Delaware for preparation for eventual sinking as an artificial reef onto the Del-Jersey-Land Inshore Reef site on a project led by Captain Tim Mullane of The American Marine Group (38°31′N 74°31′W[18]), about 30 nmi (56 km) southeast of Cape May, New Jersey, and northeast of Ocean City, Maryland.[19][20]

After being scuttled on 10 August 2011, the ship became part of the largest artificial reef on the U.S. East Coast and the longest vessel to be used for this purpose in the Atlantic.[20][21]

A Tin Can Sailors Destroyer History

USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD DD-968

The Tin Can Sailor, January 2012

The SPRUANCE-class destroyer DD‑968, was laid down on 31 January 1974 at Pascagoula, Mississippi, by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries. She was launched on 27 February 1975 and commissioned at her builder’s yard on 16 April 1977. She arrived in Norfolk, her home port, on 6 May. Following gunnery exercises and helicopter operations off the Virginia capes, she headed south to Port Canaveral, Florida, later that month. Operating as flagship of DesRon 22, she got underway on the 27th for air, surface, and sub‑surface surveillance of the surrounding waters as President Jimmy Carter watched the operations from the attack submarine LOS ANGELES (SSN‑688). The RADFORD rendezvoused with the submarine before her initial dive and again when the submarine surfaced. Throughout the operation, she provided support services for local and national press covering the chief executive’s voyage.Returning from operations off the Virginia capes on 6 June, the RADFORD struggled against poor visibility and 90-knot winds that disabled a radar antennae and drove her out of the main shipping channel into shallow waters. At one point, she had only one foot of water beneath her keel. Fighting her way back to the channel through gale-force winds, the RADFORD sighted a capsized motor vessel south of the Thimble Shoals Channel buoy 21. Unable to assist because of the shallow water and high winds, she notified the U.S. Coast Guard of bodies floating in the water, and made her way back to port.Subsequently, she got underway for the West Indies for gunfire support and other training operations including weapons tests and a gunnery exercise at Vieques, Puerto Rico. With stops in Fort Lauderdale, the Bahamas, Guantanamo Bay, and Charleston, South Carolina, she was back in Norfolk on 3 August. The RADFORD returned to her builder’s yard in Pascagoula on 11 September for post‑shakedown availability, then, on to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 25 October for restricted availability into the spring of 1978. Following ship qualification trials, underway and refresher training, and gunfire support practice in the Caribbean, she was home again on 30 July 1978.In August, she left for NATO exercises in the North Atlantic. En route, she participated in Exercise Common Effort, carrying out escort duties in an “opposed Atlantic transit.” Next came Operation Northern Wedding, a joint NATO exercise, involving several carrier groups in an amphibious landing and other types of simulated naval warfare. She operated with British, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, West German, and Canadian naval units. The destroyer visited ports in Denmark, Holland, and England. She was back in Norfolk on 25 October 1978.

The RADFORD cleared Norfolk on 13 March 1979, for the Mediterranean and a tour with the Sixth Fleet. For six months, she participated in a variety of exercises and visited Sicily, Yugoslavia, Italy, Egypt, France, and Spain. During her deployment, the vessel fired her first Harpoon missile in the Mediterranean on 28 July. Her target was the hulk of the ex‑LANSDOWNE (DD‑486), which later became the Turkish GAZIANTEP (D‑344). She also participated in exercises in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas and out of Alexandria. While en route from Toulon to Theoule, France, she rescued the French ketch, LAURCA, adrift 50 miles from the French resort of St. Tropez. The RADFORD was back in Norfolk at summer’s end. En route to Miami, she served as the platform for deck-landing qualifications for helicopter pilots. From Miami via Norfolk she proceeded to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in November 1979, to participate in a training exercise with American and Canadian warships. She ended the year in Norfolk.

For the first half of 1980, the warship operated along the East Coast, from Halifax to the Caribbean. She also stopped in Annapolis for midshipman visits. Following upkeep at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the RADFORD prepared for an extended deployment flagship as the flagship for UNITAS XXI. She left Norfolk on 21 June, embarking HSL‑34, Detachment 2, and proceeded to Roosevelt Roads.Over the next four months, she operated with elements of the navies of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, visiting multiple ports and transiting the Panama Canal twice.

Completing UNITAS XXI on 4 November, she sailed for Gabon, as a unit of a West Africa training cruise, visiting Gabon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. She returned to Norfolk via Guadalupe in mid December. The ship spent the next two years engaged in operations along the East Coast and in the West Indies, She also underwent an overhaul at her builder’s yard. In September 1982, she operated with the U.S. Coast Guard on drug interdiction duties.

In 1983, the RADFORD operated in the Virginia Capes area and into the Atlantic as the flagship of DesRon 26, spent six months in the Mediterranean where she supported the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut from 20 to 28 May. She served for a time with the guided‑missile frigate ANTRIM (FFG‑20). She exercised with Sixth Fleet battle groups that summer, returning to the waters off Beirut on 18 September, serving as a ready-gunfire support ship until relieved by the battleship NEW JERSEY (BB‑62) on 8 October. Homeward bound, the RADFORD cleared Rota on 10 November with the carrier DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN‑69) battle group. She finished the year Norfolk.

She underwent an overhaul at the Metro Machine Shipyard at Portsmouth, Virginia, from February through April. After sea trials and repairs in the floating drydock SUSTAIN (AFDM‑7), she returned to routine training and operations out of Norfolk and St. Croix. In August she became the flagship for DesRon 10, accompanied the recommissioned battleship IOWA (BB‑61) to Roosevelt Roads, conducted gunfire support exercises off Vieques, and took part in exercises off the North Carolina coast.

She deployed with the Middle East Force in February 1985, with the BARNEY (DDG‑6), ANTRIM, and CHARLES F. ADAMS (DDG‑2). After visiting Naples she headed for Egypt to transit the Suez Canal on 27 February. She entered the Persian Gulf on 9 March for radar picket duty. Five days later, she responded to a Mayday from the Liberian‑flag tanker CARIBBEAN BREEZE that had been attacked and set afire in the central Persian Gulf. The destroyer provided medical advice and launched a helicopter to render assistance. Refueling on 25 March at Sitrah Anchorage, Bahrain, she resumed radar picket duty and surveillance operations. She also served as flagship for RADM John Addams, ComMidEastFor, through June.

After RADM Addams shifted his flag from the RADFORD, the ship served two more tours of radar picket duty in the Persian Gulf. On 7 June, her Sikorsky SH‑3 Sea King helicopter conducted a life-saving mission, carrying a civilian rescued from drowning to the Bahrain hospital.

She underwent her final upkeep in the Persian Gulf at Mina Sulman, Manama, Bahrain, in June and on 4 July was replaced by the COMTE DE GRASSE (DD‑974). She and the ANTRIM conducted freedom of navigation operations off the coast of Yemen on the 11th. The destroyer transited the Suez Canal on the 14th, replenishing from the oiler USNS NEOSKO (T‑AO‑143) and fueling from the USNS TRUCKEE (T‑AO‑144) in the Mediterranean before the ANTRIM, BARNEY, and CHARLES F. ADAMS, at Rota to continue their voyage home. They arrived on 5 August 1985.

On 13 September 1985 Hurricane Gloria prompted the RADFORD to leave Norfolk to ride out the storm at an anchorage in the upper Chesapeake Bay. In late October, she left Norfolk for Halifax, Nova Scotia, to participate in the exercise, SHAREM 62, in Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland, until 6 November. She was back in Norfolk on 13 November and subsequently visited Boston and Newport to serve as a surface warfare officer school ship. She was back in Norfolk in time to conduct a dependents’ cruise on the 18th.

March 1986 found her in the Norfolk shipyard for repair followed by local operations and a drydocking in the SUSTAIN, from May into June, for repairs to her struts and stern tubes, and an inspection of her sonar dome. Summer ended with gunfire support practice, surface gunnery exercises, and missile shoots. In early October the destroyer sailed to Guantanamo Bay soon thereafter to embark HSL‑36, detachment 6, then proceeded to Roosevelt Roads, arriving on 6 October to load ammunition, take on fuel, and embark a coast guard law enforcement detachment for drug interdiction in the Caribbean. She detached the coast guardsmen in Nassau on 22 October and left for Norfolk on the 25th. The RADFORD got underway on 3 November 1986 for exercises in off Bermuda. En route, she assisted the PREBLE (DDG‑46) in searching for a crewman lost in the Cape Hatteras area.

From 1987 on, the ship engaged in routine operations and deployments out of Norfolk until the early 1990s when she served in the first Gulf War. In May 1997, she received the first-ever shipboard installation of the advanced enclosed mast/sensor system, which greatly improved her ability to fight a modern war using the latest technological advances. The night of 4 February 1999, the RADFORD was conducting calibration tests on electronics equipment that required the ship to operate in circles around an electronic buoy. At the same time, the SAUDI RIYADH, a 29,259‑ton, 656‑foot‑long container ship, was approaching the Bay from the northeast, about to enter the shipping lanes before taking on a marine pilot to continue its trip to Baltimore.

At 11:34 p.m., the SAUDI RIYADH’s bow struck the starboard side of the RADFORD, about 30 feet behind her bow. The container ship sustained a four‑foot‑high, 30‑foot‑long gash along the port and starboard sides of her bow, with most of the damage to the port side. The more heavily damaged destroyer suffered a deep gash on her starboard side, penetrating nearly 25 feet into the main deck, ripping a pie‑shaped gash, and penetrating to the ship’s centerline. The hole ran from deck to waterline. The collision toppled her 5‑inch, 54‑caliber gun and damaged her Tomahawk cruise missile tubes. One sailor suffered a broken arm, 12 more had various injuries. The RADFORD sustained an estimated $32.7 million in damages. Repairs were completed on 13 September after which the destroyer joined the carrier EISENHOWER battle group In the Mediterranean. As a result of the collision, the RADFORD’s commanding officer was relieved.

The ARTHUR W. RADFORD was decommissioned in 2003 and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 6 April 2004. Four years later the navy made the RADFORD available for the creation of an artificial reef, a practice in force since 2006. On 8 June 2010, she was transferred to the State of Delaware. Stripped to her bare bones, the ship will go to her final resting place in 135 feet of water on the Deljerseyland Inshore Reef site, between Cape May, New Jersey, and Ocean City, Maryland. Not only will she provide a    healthy habitat for fish and other marine life but will become a first-class dive site. She will be the largest ship ever reefed in that part of the Atlantic Ocean.

Chris Chiusano, of Middletown, Connecticut, served aboard the RADFORD during her final two years. He was interviewed by Bob Consodine for the New Jersey Star Ledger on 11 October 2010. Chiusano he visited the Philadelphia Navy Yard where she was being prepared for sinking. “I love that she’s being reefed,” he added. “It’s much better than seeing her turned into razor blades or being sold to another country. Now people can go down to see her. After all she went through in her career, she deserves this.”

“Jim Valdeslice, who was also interviewed, served in the ship’s crew from 1988–1992. He said it was ‘heart‑wrenching’ to see huge holes cut in the ship’s bulkhead and deck and the removal of her famous mast. But, as a diver, he looks forward to seeing her again. ‘And now my wife knows exactly where to put my ashes when I die,’ he said.”

Weather and other conditions permitting, the ARTHUR W. RADFORD will be sunk off the New Jersey coast sometime this year.